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September 07, 2006

The Armorer's Messkit...

Yesterday was my Rotary Club's annual picnic. Which is occasion to break out Arsenal stocks - not weapons, this time - but rather the Castle's 1952-vintage Officer's Armorer's Mess Kit.

The Armorer's Mess kit and infrequent Castle Commenter Mike L.

Held every year at the Hunt Lodge on Fort Leavenworth, it's a time to play horseshoes, give out some awards, and eat grilled steak with a table full of potluck sides.

The Hunt Lodge is a beautiful location, and a beautiful building. Originally built by DB inmates as a parole barracks and mess hall, it was taken over in the 1920's by the Officer's Club and was used as an annex. Now it's a special events location, for parties, wedding receptions, unit Organization Days, etc. It's an Armorer-friendly environment because it's just over the hill from the skeet range, so there is a soothing background noise of shotguns firing and, if you move just into the woods, the gentle roar of spent birdshot rattling down the leaves...

The other purpose of this post (other than to put the shiny pate on the web) is to highlight this Rotary activity, hosted by the Rotary Club in Lacey, Washington, as forwarded to us by the Heartless Libertarian:

Military support march grows. Event planned for Saturday 9 SEP 06

LACEY - Thousands of residents are expected to show up Saturday for the fourth annual march to benefit military families. The event steadily has grown since the Rotary Club of Hawks Prairie created it in 2003. A local business owner at the time had lamented about the plight of his niece, a member of the Army Reserves whose four-month deployment caused emotional and financial strain. In its first three years, the march raised more than $100,000 for programs that assist military families. The Rotary Club has set a goal of $50,000 this year; as of Friday, it had raised $45,000. The number of corporate sponsors and marchers also has increased, said Andrew Oczkewicz, one of the event organizers. "Now we have people calling us who want to be involved, not the other way around," he said. He expects 5,000 marchers on Saturday; last year, 2,500 marchers participated. This year's march promises to be the biggest in other ways as well. The prelude to the parade will feature music, speeches, a helicopter rappelling display and two, perhaps three, aircraft flyovers. And Fort Lewis' official color guard will lead the 2-mile march for the first time. The march will feature five honorary grand marshals, including Norma Melo, school liaison officer at Fort Lewis, whose husband was killed in Iraq during a suicide attack on a mess tent in December 2004. Another honoree, Lance Cpl. Shawn Seeley, is a Marine from Kent who was injured while serving in Iraq but remained in the corps and has become an instructor. Fort Lewis is appreciative that there are people in the surrounding communities that support the families regardless of the political divisiveness of the conflict, Melo said during a telephone interview Monday. She said the average American has sacrificed little during this war - except, perhaps, to have to pay a little more at the gasoline pump - while military families have seen spouses and loved ones killed, injured and emotionally traumatized by their experiences in the war zone. “I don't think Americans have felt that pinch," she said. "Military families have felt it." Marines will raise an American flag sent to the Rotary Club by a commander who was serving overseas. The rear detachment commander of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, will read a letter from Col. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the unit that is now serving its second yearlong deployment in Iraq. Gov. Christine Gregoire will attend the event, accompanied by her husband, Mike, a Vietnam veteran. U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., also will participate.

If you go

The fourth annual Military Family Support March will begin assembling at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
The first event on the stage will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the march will start about 10:20 a.m. and last about 40 minutes.

Where: Wal-Mart parking lot, 1401 Galaxy Drive N.E. The two-mile parade route will take marchers down Galaxy Drive and west on Martin Way before returning.

Photo offer: Free portraits of military families will be offered when they present a valid military identification during the event.

For kids: This year's event will feature an expanded kids zone with inflatable play areas, free coloring books and snacks, face-painting, clowns and appearances by several local and national mascots.

Donations: Contributions in any amount are welcome but not required.
Individual or team participants also can register for the march by sending an e-mail to mil.family.march@hawksprairierotary.org

More information: www.militaryfamilymarch.com

Good on ya, guys!